Trinh T. Minh-ha Film Club Notes
Week 1, we watch Night Passage (2004). Click here to join the screening.

Before watching, consider the 1927 novella that Trinh pays tribute to, Milky Way Railroad by Kenji Miyazawa. The Japanese children’s book tells the story of Giovanni, a boy with a difficult home life who also struggles as an outcast at school. On the night of the Festival of the Stars, Giovanni and his only friend, Campanella, are transported to a train ride through the universe, during which they meet and learn from many new people.

Think also of the interview with Alison Rowley, in which Trinh notes, “Life is not explicable when it is lived intensely, with magical freshness. What I kept of Miyazawa in Night Passage were spirit, structural forces, and field of action.”

In our research, we found that Miyazawa’s train ride has inspired many. For example, consider the train that journeys between worlds in the 2001 Studio Ghibli classic, Spirited Away.

Through her recreation of Miyazawa’s train ride, Trinh demonstrates that "hearing is never linear.” Throughout Night Passage, pay particular attention to how Trinh treats “sound not as sound effects but as music, making full use of the forbidden yield of what the classic, musically trained ear calls ‘noise’ or ‘nonmusical.’” Think, too, of how this relates to the film narrative’s overall linearity.

Trinh T. Minh-ha Film Club, hosted by Shaelyn Hanes and Emily Markert

Thursdays, 5pm PST / 8pm EST on YouTube

July 2: Night Passage
July 9: Fourth Dimension
July 16: A Tale of Love
July 23: Surname Viet, Given Name Nam

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